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In February 2010 I had my thyroid removed.  It had gone all mutant on me.  (I’m guessing my invite to join the X-Men as Mutated Thyroid Boy / Goiter Man got lost in the mail.)

My thyroid was literally trying to choke me.  Its mutation had caused it to grow so large it was squeezing the airway.  The normal adult male trachea has about a 20MM airway.  My evil thyroid (“My Evil Thyroid — Played By Jabba The Hut!”) had cut that 20MM down to 3MM.

I don’t need to spell out what having 85% of your air supply cut off does for your sex life, do I?  (Or the rest of your life for that matter.)

My doctor had suggested removing the thyroid . . . in 2005.

Why did I wait five years to have the operation?

Because the doctor who diagnosed the problem offhandedly mentioned one of the complications from this kind of surgery:  Your vocal cords could be cut.  He mentioned this as casually as someone ordering coffee.  “Yeah, I’ll take mine black, two sugars, and stir in a couple of surgical mutes, would ya?”

What good was breathing if I couldn’t talk?    ‘Cuz talking affects your sex life, too.  (Really, the only thing that curtailed my sex life more was Caller ID . . . )

Lack of air was becoming a problem as bicycling became a much bigger part of my life.  I eventually wearied of blacking out while riding.  Plus, the other kids were making fun of me.  Little bastards.

While my vocal cords were intact post-surgery, I did have a very raspy, weak voice for a couple of months.  The doctors recommended exercising my throat.  I told ’em I wasn’t into spitting or swallowing, thank you very much.

I turned to reading out loud.  I tried not to do it in restaurants and mosques (first place:  hard not to / second place: damned easy not to).

I’d discovered a site called Hot Air.  One of the contributors was John Hayward who wrote under the handle “Doctor Zero.”  I admired his work enough to ask if he’d mind if I turned his writings into podcasts.  He gave his wary blessing.  I became a one man podcast-production company.

Along the way I contacted another favorite writer, Fred Reed.  Fred also graciously allowed me to turn his bitingly on-point essays into audio format.

To balance John’s deadly serious essays with Fred’s sardonic wit, I sought some lighter snark with Frank J. Fleming.

From April 2010 until November 2011 I produced over 200 podcasts, mostly from the writings of those three gents.  Since most of the topics were current events, they’re less interesting to listen / revisit several years removed.  I’ve culled a few I particularly enjoyed producing.

If the original source material is available, I’ve linked to it.